June 23, 2012 | 4:37 pm | Print
Above: Trinidad Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has reshuffled her cabinet, reassigning the country’s Foreign Minister, Trade Minister, National Security Minister and others.
Also notable was the reassignment of Works Minister Jack Warner as Trinidad’s new Minister of National Security.
The move comes almost a year to the day that Persad-Bissessar reshuffled her cabinet in June 2011, when Warner was also reassigned. At that time, the Ministry of Works and Transport, over which Warner presided, was split into the separate ministries of Works and Transport, with Warner taking over Transport.
“The changes made should not be seen for anyone as an indictment on performance,” she said. “Each member of my cabinet has worked tirelessly in service to the nation and I am proud of their contribution.”
The 2011 shakeup also saw then-Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan replaced as Energy Minister. She is now the country’s new Minister of Public Administration.
Several other high-profile Ministers were reassigned, including Finance Minister Winston Dookeran replacing Surujrattan Rambachan as Foreign Minister, and Rambachan taking over the Local Government portfolio.
Warner resigned as vice president of world football body FIFA last year amid allegations of corruption.
The cabinet changes “must deliver a level of competence and performance for an impatient and expectant population,” she said. “We must accept no mediocrity; neither must we contribute to it in any way.”
The Prime Minister framed the decision as a choice between complacency and progress.
“We can pat ourselves on the back and say under the circumstances, ‘well done,’” she said, “or we can look at all we did not achieve, we can choose instead to listen to those who are not satisfied; we can choose to work harder.”
The move comes a week after the high-profile withdrawal of the country’s Movement for Social Justice from Trinidad ruling coalition.
The Prime Minister had signaled her intention to reconfigure the cabinet in May. In the interim, she had met with members of “all sectors of society” to gather opinions and views on the move, she said.